• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Isabel Archer on Fully Raw Cannibals and My Oba…
    r u reddy on Krugman and I differ on O…
    mellon on Krugman and I differ on O…
    katiebird on “Keep Going”
    Yet Another Shoddy D… on Fully Raw Cannibals and My Oba…
    mellon on Krugman and I differ on O…
    Joseph Cannon on “Keep Going”
    Valentine Bonnaire on “Keep Going”
    r u reddy on Krugman and I differ on O…
    Chris S. on Krugman and I differ on O…
    Rangoon78 on Fully Raw Cannibals and My Oba…
    abc on Krugman and I differ on O…
    carol904031 on Krugman and I differ on O…
    Dwight on Krugman and I differ on O…
    katiebird on “Keep Going”
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos debate Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean Joe Biden John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Keith Olbermann Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news New York Times NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare occupy wall street OccupyWallStreet Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    April 2014
    S M T W T F S
    « Mar    
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    27282930  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

    • It’s about damned time
      Mayor Michael Nutter should have stopped this regressive practice a long time ago: Philadelphia police will no longer detain immigrants unless the federal government shows up with a warrant, Mayor Michael Nutter announced Wednesday morning. The mayor signed an executive order at a press conference that would limit cooperation between the Philadelphia Police […]
  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Clown College as the Ukrainian military effort “sputters”
      The Ukrainian military clearly doesn’t care enough to actually fight: The day began inauspiciously for Ukrainian forces as they sought to establish an operating base in the city of Kramatorsk, moving in units from a nearby military air base. According to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and a witness who spoke by phone, a column of six [...]
  • Top Posts

Obama running a Corzine campaign?

The polls do not look good.  No, they do not.  Even if you toss out the outlier Gallup poll, the race shouldn’t be this close.  It is beginning to feel like the Democrats were relying on tribalism and identity more than seeing this race as a referendum on Obama’s performance.

I’m looking around the web and it seems like a lot of people are in denial.  They know there’s something wrong but they’re afraid to look or go to the doctor, hoping that come election day, it will have cleared itself up.  I wouldn’t take that attitude if I were them.  Romney may win this thing not because people genuinely want a Republican but because the Democrat is just so uninspiring and contemplating four more years of lackluster performance and capitulation to the Republicans is very depressing and may make them stay home.

The weird thing is that Obama’s campaign is appealing to Republicans and Independents while leaving the Democratic base demoralized.  Who the heck does the Democratic party expect to come to their rescue??  The Lone Ranger?  Are they going to work Bill Clinton into an early grave on the campaign trail?

Anyway, whatever it is, they’d better get on the stick.  The Republicans sure look like they’re playing to win.

 

Hillary Falls on her Sword

She takes responsibility for Benghazi:

“I take responsibility,” she said in an interview with CNN. “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha.”

Well, alright then.  Make of that what you will.*

She has also spent the last week laying out the reasoning behind the recent diplomatic decisions and missions to the middle east. (Probably hoping that Obama will “get it” before the debate tonight)  I’m not surprised.  It’s her legendary third ball talking and she’s a loyal Democrat.  It’s likely that she wanted to soften the blow of Benghazi on Obama this evening at tonight’s debate since Republicans seem to be heading for that train wreck full speed.

And as Secretary of State, it is ultimately her responsibility.  There was a failure somewhere and she needs to do a Cause Map and a Kazein Event and make corrections.  It might be the case that there are others responsible as well, like Congress or Defense or Obama’s national security apparatus.  And we can’t let the Libyans off the hook here.  There are some elements in Libya who are determined to be flaming fundamentalist jerks who could very easily derail the rebuilding process.  And dealing with fundamentalists of any religion is pretty close to impossible.  They’re not rational people.  So, we can’t rule out the possibility that the film that caused so much turmoil in the middle east was a deliberate inflammatory event.  And who is responsible for THAT?

There’s no question in my mind that the Republicans were prepared to take full advantage of Benghazi as a way to peel some voters away from Obama.  By the way, I am not aware of any team membership for the PUMAs.  We only joke about having a welcome package.  As far as I know, the PUMA thing lost its mojo after the 2008 election with many of the liberal ones relegated to observer status.  We didn’t lose our minds and become birthers or Tea Partiers or Palin loving authoritarian whip kissers.  We’re just here trying to talk some sense into the rest of the party.  We gave it our best shot to try to convince them to drop Obama before it was too late.  Have you seen the polls lately??  I guess it’s possible for Obama to win this but it’s going to be a nail biter and he didn’t do himself any favors in the last debate.

There are still a lot of people out there who are pissed as hell at the Democrats for dumping Hillary and sticking them with a lightweight who only ended up making their lives more difficult and futures more uncertain.  Yep, they are not going to let the Democrats off the hook.  In retrospect, sucking up to the donors while thinking that throwing Lilly Ledbetter at the base they ditched was going to keep them down on the farm was a pretty fricking stupid idea.  It’s so stupid that it could only be dreamed up by the “culture of smartness” that has invaded Wall Street and the White House.  It’s the kind of atmosphere that assumes that if you didn’t get your degree from Princeton or Harvard, you’re instantly dumber than a box of rocks and can’t think yourself out of a paper bag.  They think they can exploit what they perceive as ignorance and asymmetric information and you’ll just go along with it because you have nowhere else to go.

That’s not a winning strategy.

See, those people the party blew off in 2008?  They still have votes.  Lots of them.  It’s simple A-R-I-T-H-M-E-T-I-C.  They call the donors the 1% for a reason.

So, Obama goes into this debate as the underdog.  Hillary is taking the fall.  Obama looks like, “Wha? We didn’t know anything about Benghazi.  That’s Hillary’s thing.  See? She even said so herself.”  Then the Republicans have to say, “How conveeeeenient for you to have such a dedicated Secretary of State.  {{flattery, flattery}}  She’s pretty strong.  What a man to step up and take the blame!”

That could be game, set, match if Obama has no decent comeback.  He’s going to have to fake some bonafide Democratic credentials to get himself out of this one.  Too bad we can’t unsee what we’ve seen in the past four years and prior debate.  Even if he manages to come up with a reasonable response, who is going to believe him?

Like I said, I don’t have a dog in this fight anymore.  I can’t stand Republicans and my former party has been aerosolized.  Occasionally, we get a sniff of something Democratic in the air from Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bill Clinton but the people in charge of the party sure don’t smell like Democrats and they don’t hang together like Democrats should with a sparkling top note, substantial drydown and long lasting sillage.

Anyway, bring on the debate!  I want to see which party praises Hillary more effusively.  It should be very revealing in so many ways.

*Sounds a bit disgusted at having to save Obama’s bacon again while she’s busily trying to keep things calm around the world.

Obama White House Pinning the Blame on Hillary

Yep, all her fault.  According to a security person in Tripoli from the Utah National Guard, the embassy (unclear which one) asked for more security and that request was denied by the State department.  Hillary says the truth will all come out, we need to be patient.  But this is an election year and patience is not a virtue.  The Republicans want to pin the responsibility for the embassy attack in Benghazi on Obama and Obama wants to pin the responsibility on Hillary.

Interesting.  I probably wouldn’t have done it this way because I’ve read various accounts of who requested what for which embassy and who turned it down or didn’t ask for it or decided it wasn’t in their strategic long term interests.  Ambassador Chris Stevens was convinced that local Libyan security should be used when possible, if I recall correctly. It may have cost him his life in the end but from recent accounts, a few extra American military people, which is what was requested, wouldn’t have made a big difference.  The attack on the embassy was a full on assault with heavy fire and mortars. Whether the State department shares some of the blame for this disaster is something we will all find out eventually and the responsible parties will have to answer for it, including Hillary if she is at fault.  I want to hear all of the facts first.

Frankly, I would LOVE for Hillary to have to testify before Congress on the matter.  The sooner the better.  She’s not the headbanded lawyer with the missing box of billing records anymore.  Does either side really want to call Hillary to Capital Hill?  Think about that for awhile.  Let it soak in.  I’m not sure which campaign has the most to lose in that scenario but let us remember what James Carville once said of Hillary, “If Hillary gave Barack Obama one of her balls, they’d each have two.”

Craig Crawford has this to say on the matter:

President Obama’s team seems close to provoking a feud with the Clintons. The White House seems to be shifting blame to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Benghazi fiasco.

First, Vice President Joe Biden says in his debate “we” weren’t told U.S. diplomats asked for more security in Benghazi before the violence there. Then, White House press secretary Jay Carney explains that Biden meant only the White House had not been told, and in a telling remark says the matter was “handled by security professionals at the State Department.”

I can understand why Biden, who wants to run for president again, would relish a chance to undermine Hillary, who might also run again. But at a moment when Obama is relying so much on Bill Clinton for support does he really want to let this play out?

Well, considering that Obama owes his presidency to Wall Street and that the culture of smartness doesn’t do long term thinking, I think we can assume that they haven’t actually played that scenario out and are still under the impression that they can humiliate Hillary without consequences.

But don’t be surprised to find that the Republicans have sized up the situation and predicted the opposition’s likely reaction.

Get the popcorn.

Obama is like a “too big to fail” bank

He failed the stress test but the party heavy hitters feel obligated to save him no matter how badly he f^&*s up and can’t make the case.

We all know that left to his own devices, he’s going to screw up again and put all our economic lives in jeopardy.  It’s just that the party is so invested in him.

So, we see the spectacle of Joe Biden spending a good portion of the debate propping Obama up on foreign policy.  At some point, he ditched the script and just defended his party.

He scored on abortion.  It’s perfectly fine if you have a religious objection to it as long as you don’t seek to impose that religious doctrine on others.  He was a little vague on social security.  I would have liked to have heard a definitive stance against raising the retirement age.  It’s unclear if that is Obama’s policy speaking or Biden’s.

Afghanistan was a wash.  We should be out of there by now.  Otherwise, Biden owned foreign policy.  He smiled and laughed to mock Ryan but he could have been just funnin’ with the young’un.  Biden excels in this area.

I think he kicked Ryan’s ass on the economy and how Ryan’s plan would hurt the middle class.  He was very good at selling the pitch, addressing the camera, and by extension, us, directly.

It would be great if we could just declare the Obama presidency insolvent and nationalize the office for a better candidate.  I’d vote for Biden in a pinch.  Too bad he’s not on the top of the ticket.

VP debate tonight and stray thought from 2008

Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate between Joe “the cop between my brain and my mouth is at the donut shop” Biden and Paul “Ayn Rand is my goddess” Ryan.  We should do another live blog but since the body language thing has become chic this year, maybe we should watch and listen this time.  OR, we could turn off the visuals and just listen.

Anyway, it just occurred to me that maybe one of the reasons Barack Obama did so poorly in his first debate appearance this year is because in 2008, he was actually running against Sarah Palin.  Oh sure he was.  That’s all the general campaign was about, how much smarter and more qualified Barack Obama was compared to Sarah Palin.  John McCain hardly entered the picture at all.  I think I noticed it back then too but it didn’t occur to me that this might be why his debate performances in 2008 were not a fiasco.  He was all confident and cocky about beating Sarah, that was the real race that his campaign had set up in everyone’s mind.

Plus, he was running a game of “whack a racist”.  ANY criticism of Obama was twisted to be a racial slur.  It was quite effective.  Combined with his race against Sarah, how was a liberal supposed to effectively evaluate Obama?  Any legitimate criticism of him was muted and he was running against a woman who the left had dehumanized and characterized as the stupidest person on the planet.

This year, it’s different.  Visually, Mitt is very presidential.  He’s a big, tall man with presidential hair and an engaging vital manner.  He’s also a Republican, which in my humble opinion, is unforgivable.  But that’s not the point.  As Obama supposedly believes, debates are sideshows.  From a policy perspective, they’re meaningless.  But I think they serve a purpose that can’t be underrated.  In the modern debate, we get as close as we can to hand to hand combat between chieftains of competing clans.  It *is* physical.  That’s why it was important that Michael Dukakis looked short, that Richard Nixon sweat and that Barack Obama looked like he didn’t want to be there.

It might have also done in Hillary because at 5’7″, she had to look feisty to compete with his taller frame and longer limbs. He took up more space and with a female opponent, he strut his macho stuff and acted dismissively when she talked. It might not have been enough that she was the smartest person in the room who had done her homework and could whip up a policy in 30 seconds flat.  To the liberals and progressives who were afraid of losing again, she had to look more like Boudicca than Hermione Granger.

Boudicca, ass-kicking queen of the Britons
(bears striking resemblance to Julia Gillard)

Nevertheless, she took him on and won her debates with him to such an extent that he refused to debate her again during the primaries after she beat him in Pennsylvania. He sought out a friendlier crowd in NC the next day to lick his wounds, flip her the bird and brush the dirt off his shoulders.  It has often been said that he doesn’t like confrontation and that NC appearance showed that he was much better at acting like the mean BMOC when he was with his adoring fans than taking her on and losing to her again.

It’s been awhile since I read MoDo but I dropped into her column yesterday and she seems to have matured ever so slightly.  She’s not so flip these days, probably because her mancrush in 2008 turned out to be far worse for women that the woman she mocked for two decades.  Maybe she’s learned her lesson.  She also seems more than a little alarmed.  Oh sure, Obama will do better next time.  Someone will have figured out how he’s supposed to debate a real general campaign opponent.  But MoDo suggests it’s more serious than that:

Just as Poppy Bush didn’t try as hard as he should have because he assumed voters would reject Slick Willie, Obama lapsed into not trying because he assumed voters would reject Cayman Mitt.

The president averted his eyes as glittering opportunities passed, even when Romney sent a lob his way with a reference to his accountant.

Obama has been coddled by Valerie Jarrett, the adviser who sat next to Michelle at the debate, instead of the more politically strategic choice of local pols and their spouses. Jarrett believes that everyone must woo the prodigy who deigns to guide us, not the other way around.

At a fund-raising concert in San Francisco Monday night, the president mocked Romney’s star turn, saying “what was being presented wasn’t leadership; that’s salesmanship.”

It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama not to sell or even explain health care and economic policies; and it is that distaste that caused him not to sell himself and his policies at the debate. His latest fund-raising plea is marked “URGENT.” But in refusing to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision, he underscores his own lapses in leadership and undermines arguments for four more years.

The debate was an uncomfortable window into Obama’s style in all things presidential.  What is urgent to you is not an emergency to him.  He’s smaller than we thought, less secure, confident and sure of his experience.  He doesn’t look like the alpha male commanding his clan.  He’s the guy who seeks assistance from the moderator with ingratiating comments.  That Obama doesn’t stand a chance against a real presidential candidate and not the carefully crafted illusions his campaign spun for him to do battle with four years ago.  And that is the weak prince we have had in office for four years while the barbarians knocked down the gates.

In a way, a strong showing by Joe Biden this evening might just do Obama in.

*********************************
And here’s another quote from that MoDo column that I find deeply disturbing:

Once during the 2008 campaign, reading about all the cataclysms jolting the economy and the world, Obama joked to an adviser: “Maybe I should throw the game.”

Can someone confirm whether he really said that?
Unbelievable.

Neil Barofsky’s book is depressing.

Summary: Obama appointed the Mafia to run the Treasury.

You know it’s bad when your Democratic Special Inspector General for TARP who was appointed under Bush says the Obama Treasury appointees are worse.  Not only that but the HAMP program was constructed in such a way as to encourage mortgage foreclosure fraud by the servicers. Tim Geithner is not a nice guy.  Oh, no, he isn’t.  He’s a sociopath.  It’s just bad any way you look at it.  We’ve been had.  The banks own everything.

I don’t know if I can handle Sheila Bair’s book, Bull by the Horns, as well.  It might be too much.

Don’t let anyone fool you.  The good guys have left the administration with a couple of exceptions.  The rest have to go.  Clean them all out.

Katiebird asks “how did we get here?”

Update from GregT from the comments:

The Democratic Party has been the victim of a corporate takeover. It happened gradually at first, then completely in 2008. Instead of taking the direction wanted and needed by the public, the top-down infiltration of the party reached its climax in the spring of 2008 and steered clear of a corrective course. Barack Obama was a candidate not ready for prime time. No experience, no real knowledge of policy issues and no real interest in governing. But he was the quintessential yes man and Wall Street knew he would go easy on them. So the Street identified him as their preferred candidate . They used their money and their expertise in marketing to sell him to the voters. They probably got crossover help from the GOP that cycle. The Street knew Obama had potential as a ” pitch guy ” and so they played that up. Hillary Clinton was in the way, so she was vanquished to make room for the Great Savior. And even then,despite all that was done for him, he needed help to win the D primary and he needed the fall of Lehman to secure the presidency.

Those who voted for him in 08 have been used. Rather than admit it, too many have continued to support him long past the expiration date. The debate just proved it. He brought a knife to a gunfight because a knife is all he has. He wouldn’t be in his current job if he knew how to wield a gun.

That’s what happened.

And here is Quixote’s take from a different thread:

Dump your best candidate: get someone second rate. Deal with downstream consequences forever.

It reminds me of Krugman’s point that the reason the USA keeps veering away from single payer health care, starting in the late 1940s, is that there are too many white people who can’t stand the thought of black people getting some benefit from the program. Racism is the reason the country has this health care boat anchor around its economy, dragging the whole country down.

Well, in 2008 we had one more instance of too many people who couldn’t stand the thought of listening to a woman. The fact that she was the best person for the job didn’t enter into it. Sexism has always been a supertanker boat anchor dragging the country down, but 2008 was a critical time to go and necklace ourselves with it.

*************************************

No, she is not referencing Talking Heads.

She’s asking how it could be that in 2008 we were desperate to elect a Democrat to roll back the conservative excesses of the Bush years and what we ended up with is a plan endorsed by BOTH candidates to screw anyone under the age of 60 out of their PRE-PAID Social Security and Medicare funds.  I think we can see from Wednesday night’s debate why it is that Obama has been so ineffective as president.  Maybe what we saw is the way he always is in negotiations with his opposition.  Scary thought, eh?  Now, he is a national joke after Wednesday’s performance.  Oh, he’ll look better next time but we can’t unsee what we’ve seen.  If he’s like this with the insurance industry, and Wall Street and the Tea Party conservatives, we are all well and truly fucked.

Basically, in 2008 we had a choice between rehab and co-dependency when it came to the financiers, who knew the crash was coming.  And the financiers chose the enabler and funded him.  It wouldn’t have worked except there is a peculiar tendency of Americans that the financiers and Obama’s campaign milked for all it was worth.  It worked.

How did they do it?  Here is the video that shows a big reason why we’re here.  Don’t misread this video.  It’s not a celebration or glorification of anyone.  It is a condemnation of the way Americans, and specifically a certain segment of Democrats, took leave of their senses and brought us to this point.  This kind of treatment went beyond anything Al Gore or John Kerry ever faced and should never happen to any candidate ever again.:

The choice was between the person who kept on going after the media and opposition told her to ditch all of her help and quit vs the guy who had a LOT of assistance from the media, the party and Wall Street and who was lifted and carried across the finish line.

We underestimated one candidate and overestimated the other.  And That, ladies and gentlemen, is why we are here.

Oh, dear! Mitt was mean to Obama

The left blogosphere is all atwitter today and heading for the fainting couch because Mitt kicked Obama’s ass last night. Did this meme come from the campaign-blogger meeting this morning?   I’m guessing the last thing Obama’s campaign wants is for blue collar women to show up at the polls.  I mean, isn’t what all of those “Romney is a bad dude who doesn’t care about you” exercises have been about all summer and into the fall?  The Obama campaign seems fairly desperate to suppress the blue collar womens’ vote because those women want nothing more than…

… for someone to kick the shit out of Obama.

And last night gave them hope.

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?  Those lady voters, and by this, oh best beloveds, he means the former Clintonistas who were royally screwed by Obama last time, they’re too genteel for all the aggressive behavior that Mitt displayed last night?  Oh, my, I think they might have the vapors. They’re delicate, fragile flowers and unfit for such improprieties.  It’s not decent!  We shall whip them into a frenzy of condemnation.  We shall use their more civilized nature to reign Romney in.  He won’t be allowed to do that next time, nosiree.

Fuck that shit.  No one cared about their feelings in 2008 when they were called every nasty thing in the book and Obama trolls stomped on their necks with big hobnailed boots while singing in the rain.  Hell no, back then, the Clintonistas, educated and self-taught, professional and hourly employee, young and old, were tossed into the pile of stupid working class, menopausal, racist idiots.  They were the dirt on Obama’s shoulder.  He had 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.   His speech writers grasped breasts and stuck beer bottles up his opponent’s nose.  They were locked out of caucus sites, harassed and screamed at and called names even I have a problem typing out.  Their votes were trashed and they were told to get in line because they had nowhere else to go.  Remember?  Because WE do.

They wanted nothing more than to work Obama and his assholes over themselves.  But you know, with it being all illegal and stuff, they were more than happy to see Mitt do it by proxy.  Oh sure, some of them may get all dainty and regret that it looked brutal but secretly, they’re delighted.  Maybe Mitt will govern like an asskicker, maybe he won’t.  But as far as the ladies are concerned, he can’t do a whole lot worse than Obama has and if his goal was to motivate these women who Obama has all but written off, then I think it might have gotten their attention. Let’s face it, Obama had permanently alienated these women and was never going to get their votes.  He just needs to prevent Romney from getting them. Suddenly, we’re relevant.

It doesn’t mean they’re all going to run out and vote for Mitt in November.  Some of us haven’t let our anger get the better of our senses.  But if Romney went after Obama last night aggressively, and from his body language, it looked more assertive than aggressive, then indignant moralizing about it today just looks like Obama can’t take it.  Either that or he doesn’t like blue collar women voters any more than Republicans like African Americans in Philadelphia.  One party tries to use the law to keep their undesirables from voting against them at the polls, the other uses social conditioning, psychological manipulation and group dynamics to keep their undesirables from going to the polls to vote against them.

But nobody’s fooled.  Well, after this post, no one will be fooled.

Addendum:  It just occurred to me that until this year, no one had ever really gone for Obama’s jugular in a debate.  In 2008, moderators tiptoed around Obama and everyone went out of their way to self-censor everything they said lest they be accused of being racist.  So, Obama might have gone into that debate expecting the same deference and Mitt blindsided him.

Oh well.  He should have seen that coming.

Presidential Debate Live blog 1: Pete and Repete

Good evening, Conflucians.  It’s that time of the year again when our quadrennial election cluster%^& shifts into high gear.  The operatives have scoured the blogs for all the right buzz words and have carefully crafted sound bites for tonight’s entertainment.

Ah, but we at the Confluence do things differently.  We like to watch the debates without the sound so we can pay close attention to body language.  However, if there are readers out there who want to keep us up to date on what each person said in the timeline, that’s cool too.  Very helpful, in fact, so we can roughly coordinate our impressions with the speaker.

This year’s debate features Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  Party affiliation is not helpful this time since Mitt Romney is a relatively moderate Republican posing as a right wing nutcase and Barack Obama is a moderate Republican posing as a Democrat.  Since I don’t really have a dog in this fight (I don’t like either of them), that might be good for my objectivity.  If you feel likewise, join in!  Grab your beer, tune in to your favorite debate channel, set your DVR, or watch it online on C-Span, like I intend to do, and turn the sound off.  I guarantee you won’t miss a thing.  The media will be rerunning the highlights for days and C-Span usually runs the whole thing in its entirety.

Ready.  Set.  Go!

Tim Geithner and the Orient Express

The suspects arranged themselves on both sides of the aisle

Neil Barofsky who wrote the recently released book, Bailout, wrote a short review/impression of Sheila Bair’s new book, Bull By The Horns.  Both books cover roughly the same time period, during the financial meltdown and its immediate aftermath.  As Barofsky notes, he and Bair come from different sides of the aisle and have different experiences as public officials.  But they are united in one thing- their opinion of Tim Geithner.  Says Barofsky:

her observations and interactions with the Geithner-led Treasury Department and her thoroughly captured fellow regulators are strikingly similar to mine.

She too was cursed out by Geithner and subjected to many of the same dirty political tricks.  She also bore the brunt of misleading media attacks. She came to the same realization that I did that large chunks of the government were far more interested in preserving the status quo of the big banks than serving the broader interests of the American people.  And she similarly recognized that Treasury’s mortgage modification program was never really designed to fulfill the administration’s promise to help millions of homeowners.  Bair looked at the same bailout landscape that I did and saw the same favoritism toward Wall Street and betrayal of Main Street.

The day Bair’s book was released a journalist friend emailed me that she thought that Bailout and Bull by the Horns share “the same utterly surreal quality” and that I would “like it a lot.”  She’s right.  It’s always nice to find out that you were not the only sane person in the asylum.

So, add this latest book to the pile, including Confidence Men by Ron Suskind, that paints Tim Geithner as the guy who refused to flip the switch or throw the big bankers off the bridge in order to save the rest of us.

Speaking of trains, the theme of Geithner being a complete bastard deserving of some nasty fate reminds me of the Murder on the Orient Express.  In it, the body is discovered to have been the victim of not one suspect but all of them.  Each one of the aggrieved attempts to murder the victim by stabbing, unaware that someone else had gotten there first.  In Geithner’s case, he has managed to survive so far, like just another one of the vampires that the Democrats foolishly invited into the house four years ago.

But with each volume that recounts that tale from a different perspective, the personalities and actions of the players become clearer and the motives easier to understand.  Tim Geithner is the hand of the financiers, sent to the malware president they installed to make sure that their interests were protected even if that meant turning the country into a broken banana republic with decaying infrastructure, a ruined technology and industrial sector and a permanent underclass.  It remains to be seen which suspect will deliver the fatal stab but there’s no shortage of remaining suspects.

This is pretty bad, people.  The Obama administration has been worse than we anticipated.

The attempts of the Obama campaign to scare working class women into supporting him over Romney should be seen in the light of what he has failed to accomplish for them in the last four years, largely through the machinations of Tim Geithner.   Those Democratic loyalists who have been carrying the campaign’s water, spreading a steady stream of attacks on Romney, portraying him as indifferent to their plight, have been remarkably silent about what Obama has done for them.  Four years ago, they might have said that the jury was still out on Obama’s performance and there was still a good possibility that he would be their Democratic champion.  But in October 2012, the mystery is gone.  It is a bitter triumph if the campaign’s mouthpieces have managed to convince blue collar women to ignore their lying eyes and accept a manufactured reality.  The money must be really good and, you know, the health insurance premiums must be paid.

All of the lamenting about what Obama will do in his second term obscures the fact that these bloggers did absolutely nothing to challenge the party when they had a chance to make a difference.  Instead, they allowed the party to use their blogs as a means of disseminating manipulative propaganda while ignoring all of the administration’s collaboration with the banks to make those women’s lives harder.  It’s all crocodile tears and prostitution.

Ultimately, it is Obama who is responsible for appointing Geithner and allowing homeowners and businesses to get used by the banks.  Now that we have a better picture of what went on in 2009-2010 when Obama had a political full house and many executive branch tools at his disposal, it’s impossible to deny that he served the financiers.

If you serve Obama, you are serving the banks, just like Romney will.

*******************************

And here is Sheila Bair describing what she would have done to Citibank.  If you were a shareholder, it was a fairly terrifying scenario but given how badly Citi was mismanaged ($800 billion?? How is it possible for an entity not a country to rack up that much money in bad assets?), ultimately necessary.  Tim Geithner cut her off at the pass.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 415 other followers